A Year in Capsule Wardrobes

In the summer of 2015, I was living in a three-bedroom house with a two-car garage with my husband and our two cats. Although we had hosted at least five giant yard sales since we had moved in two years prior, we were still unable to pull a car into our garage due to the amount of stuff blocking our way. Desperate to find space and peace, and confused as to why I still felt cramped and stressed in a house so large and open, I began searching for answers. That's when I encountered the concept of a capsule wardrobe.

At first, the idea of limiting oneself to only 37 items per season seemed extreme, but I was hopeful. I began in my walk-in closet and donated a quarter of my wardrobe that day. I pulled together my 37 pieces and stored away all the rest. Then, to my amazement, not much happened. I lived my daily life, wore my daily clothes, and felt no backlash from the limitations of my capsule. In fact, I began to be creative with my outfits and started researching what it means to shop from ethical sources. I started telling my friends about my discovery, explaining to them how liberated I felt, and how I wasn't even wearing all the pieces from my capsule.

When it came time to switch over for winter, I almost forgot. However, determined to stick to my guns, I dutifully chose 37 more pieces from my bins of clothes and put them in my closet. I noticed that I really wanted to hang onto most of the fall items, so I only switched out a few things. I looked at my capsule, then looked at my bin of unchosen winter clothes. I realized that these needed to go, since I hadn't chosen them and probably would never choose them. Out they went.

I began to see the word minimalism floating around the blogs I followed, so I started researching.

Soon afterward, we moved from our house in the country to a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment in the middle of town. We gutted our belongings, making brutal decisions about what was worth taking up our precious and very limited storage space. We settled into the apartment, waiting to feel the backlash of our extreme downsizing. But, nothing really happened. We went on with life as usual. We ate food and watched movies and went to work and hung out with our cats. Only now, when I walked into my apartment I didn't immediately feel the weight of all the cleaning that had to be done, or the fact that our garage was overflowing with more stuff than I could ever organize away. I felt lean, positive, and energized for the next task.

Now that I approach my life from a minimalist perspective, I don't need 37 distinct pieces of clothing for every season. I just choose what I feel is right and clear out the rest. I've created new fall and winter capsules that reflect my life now, without rules but also without excess.

Capsule Wardrobe Q+A